Americans have long lived in a nation made up primarily of middle-class families, neither rich nor poor, but comfortable enough, notes NPR's Marilyn Geewax, but this year - for the first time in US history, that changed. A new analysis of government data shows that as of 2015, middle-income households have become the minority, extending a multi-decade decline that confirms the hollowing out of society as 49% of all Americans now live in a home that receives money from the government each month. Sadly, the trends that are destroying the middle class in America just continue to accelerate.
Back in 1971, about 2 out of 3 Americans lived in middle-income households. Since then, the middle has been steadily shrinking.
Today, just a shade under half of all households (about 49.9 percent) have middle incomes. Slightly more than half of Americans (about 50.1 percent) either live in a lower-class household (roughly 29 percent) or an upper-class household (about 21 percent).
As NPR explains, thanks to factory closings and other economic factors, the country now has 120.8 million adults living in middle-income households, the study found. That compares with the 121.3 million who are living in either upper- or lower-income households.
"The hollowing of the middle has proceeded steadily for the past four decades," Pew concluded.
And middle-income Americans not only have shrunk as a share of the population but have fallen further behind financially, with their median income down 4 percent compared with the year 2000, Pew said.